The best seven hotel restaurants in Europe – A gourmand’s guide to our top dining experiences in Europe
We’re lucky that we travel to the finest hotels and resorts across the globe, and part and parcel of that is getting to sample some fabulous food. Pull up a seat and join us for our whistle-stop tour around the tables of the best places we’ve dined at to date in Europe. Buon appetito!
YOSHI (Hotel Metropole, Monaco)
Joël Robuchon’s first Japanese restaurant, YOSHI offers modern, healthy food in a beautifully chic yet relaxed environment. Take a seat at the sushi bar and watch as gorgeous little morsels of heaven are created before your very eyes by experts including Japanese chef Takéo Yamazaki. While you devour your dinner of fresh sushi and sashimi, treat your eyes to a taste of the Orient as you gaze out at the pretty Japanese-inspired landscaped garden. If you’re visiting for lunch, there is also the option of Le Bento, where your starter, main and dessert will be served in a black lacquered box, inspired by the traditional Japanese lunch box.
Tried and tasted by Grant Holmes: ‘The offerings at YOSHI were unlike any Japanese food I have ever tasted anywhere. Service was fine-tuned to perfection and delivered by a team of exceptionally professional waiters. And as it was summer, night-time views out into the perfectly manicured Japanese garden made a lovely setting.’
Irene (Hotel Savoy, Florence)
This restaurant is causing quite a stir for its bistro-style dishes influenced by what has become known as the ‘essence of Irene’ – best summed up as the feminine and carefree take that is injected to the classic Tuscan fare. Imagine the sort of dishes that Italian families would sit and enjoy together at home, but taken up a few notches thanks to executive chef Giovanni Cosmai. In fact, there is a three-course Lunch at Nonna’s menu served every Sunday featuring temptations such as Tuscan bean soup, ravioli stuffed with ‘pappa al pomodoro’ mozzarella salad, Florentine steak and tiramisu. Whether you dine inside or outdoors on the piazza, you can be sure of a delicious meal and perfectly timed service.
Tried and tasted by Grant Holmes: ‘I started with the octopus salad with radicchio and beetroot – utterly delicious – followed by the milk-fed lamb (almost white) with chicory and broad beans. The flavours were perfectly balanced.’
Epicure (Le Bristol Paris)
One of the city of love’s ultimate gastronomic destinations, Epicure is overseen by Eric Frechon, who holds the prestigious Meilleur Ouvrier de France, boasts three Michelin stars and is referred to in culinary circles as the ‘defender of French cuisine’. The food he creates is exceptional and you can expect some unusual ingredients worked into most dishes. Menu highlights include blue lobster roasted in its shell with salted butter, sautéed squid with sweet pepper and crisps of anchovy. The selection of wines is impeccable, too, and the service for such a fine establishment is refreshingly neither stuffy nor overly formal. In the summer months there is also the option to dine al fresco at beautifully laid tables.
Tried and tasted by Grant Holmes: ‘French cuisine in the hands of Frechon takes on a contemporary twist without losing the tradition that makes this food so delicious. I forgot all about my waistline while munching boldly on the macaroni stuffed with black truffle and foie gras, followed by the pigeon glazed with a spicy honey and pine-nut crumble with fennel, onion and cumin.’
Le Gabriel (La Réserve Hotel and Spa, Paris)
Menus at the two Michelin-starred restaurant Le Gabriel are full of classic dishes with a twist added by executive chef Jérôme Banctel (previously of Lucas Carton and Le Crillon among others). Inspiration is taken from produce that is in season locally and cooking styles from around the globe. As the hotel says, ‘Ingredients are enhanced but never disguised’, and there is ‘just enough creativity to give each dish the excitement of a first time’. The result is contemporary French cuisine and a refined gastronomic experience. Look forward to savouring tasty meals such as poached foie gras, celery and curry brunoise, or line-caught turbot and tomato ravioli with South African olive-oil emulsion.
Tried and tasted by Emily Palmer: ‘Le Gabriel will take you on a culinary adventure you won’t forget, while the choices on the bar’s wine list are as excellent as you’d expect in a hotel whose owner is a leading vintner.’
BistrEau (Mandarin Oriental, Barcelona)
Two Michelin star Spanish chef Angel Léon’s BistrEau excels in Catalan dishes with an edge. Throughout Spain he has the alias of Chef of the Sea due to his passion and knowledge of seafood. Naturally the restaurant specialises in fish and shellfish, with seaweed, algae and sea salt being used to produce an interesting blend of flavours and textures. Mackerel salad, surf-and-turf tartare, plankton risotto and cuttlefish in ink hollandaise sauce are just some of the dishes to sample, and everything is elegantly presented. Do also pop in to the Banker’s Bar for a pre-dinner drink and Terrat roof terrace (in warmer months) for evening cocktails, delicious Peruvian-Japanese fusion delicacies and views of the Sagrada Família.
Tried and tasted by Alison Holmes: ‘I ate hands-down one of the best servings of Kobe beef I have ever had – beautifully cooked and served. The menu had many enticing items to choose from, but being somewhat of a locavore, I went with the beef when I heard it was sourced from northern Spain. The sommelier selected a delicious red from the same locale to accompany the meal.’
Club del Doge (Hotel Gritti Palace, Venice)
The terrace of Club del Doge restaurant is the most enchanting place to dine on a summer’s day. Cruise up to the hotel’s private jetty by water taxi to arrive in style and take a seat overlooking all the comings and goings on the Grand Canal right beside you. It’s great for people-watching and admiring the historic buildings around you. Whether you have an appetite for snacking on cicchetti, a light lunch of risotto, a pre-dinner martini and olives, or a dinner comprising the regional specialty of crispy salt cod with Gritti Palace’s vitelotte potato purée and cold fennel- and-dill salad, this is traditional Venetian cuisine at its finest. Club del Doge is perfect for celebrating an occasion and throughout the year hosts gala dinners that coincide with events in the city’s social calendar, including the famous February carnival.
Tried and tasted by Grant Holmes: ‘Club del Doge is a rare combination of location, exceptional food and perfectly executed service. And yes, prices are not for the faint-hearted, but it will go down as one of life’s unforgettable meals.’
EDEN-ROC GRILL & BAR (Hôtel du Cap-Eden-Roc Côte d’Azur)
Situated in a magical spot on the tip of Cap d’Antibes, overlooking the sea and with views towards the Lérins Islands, Eden-Roc Grill & Bar is an excellent place for a relaxing lunch on the French Riviera. With a suitably nautical theme, staff wear navy-blue and cream striped t-shirts, while the crockery is edged with little blue wave patterns, and wooden flooring inside and out gives a sense of being onboard an exquisitely crafted yacht. As you sit down at your table, drool over the menu created by chef Christophe Marc, which shouts gourmet simplicity. It features seafood from the chilled crustacean bar, fish and meats grilled to perfection, risottos and salads, or if you are in the mood for Asian flavours the Comptoir Koori offers a mouthwatering choice of sushis and sashimis.
Tried and tasted by Emily Palmer: ‘Like the views, the food is sublime. I opted for a simple Caprese salad, which was anything but simple as it came with some beautifully sweet noire de Crimée tomatoes. Anticipating another big meal ahead that night, I passed on the heavily laden crustacean bar with an enticing display of fresh seafood.’
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